WEST Coast captain Luke Shuey says the Eagles can return to contention quicker than people think, pointing to the club's rise to preliminary finalists the year after their last wooden spoon in 2010 and Melbourne's 2021 flag.
The Eagles have endured a nightmare start to the 2022 season, sitting last with a 1-6 record and fresh from a 109-point thrashing at Optus Stadium by Richmond, the club's second-largest defeat on home soil.
West Coast hasn't been helped by a raft of injuries and players entering health and safety protocols during the season but there had been an expectation its premiership window was over and that it was time to rebuild. The Eagles have now admitted they are "in transition".
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Shuey joined the Eagles in 2008 and debuted in 2010 when they finished last with a 4-18 record, before bouncing back and reaching the preliminary final in 2011.
"I remember thinking if I was to read into what others were saying about us, we wouldn't have turned it around as quick as we did," Shuey said on Tuesday when asked on his memories from the club's last wooden spoon.
"We made a prelim 12 months after winning a wooden spoon. People can talk about rebuilds and getting new players in as much as they want, even with Melbourne two years ago, they didn't make finals, they'd had a couple of reasonable seasons prior to that but they don't make finals and then won a premiership a year later quite convincingly.
"Things can turn quick, which we're hoping will happen."
After Friday's loss to Richmond, Eagles coach Adam Simpson scoffed at the suggestion their rebuild may take several years.
The reality is West Coast had endured a few years of pain prior to its rise in 2011 cited by Shuey, finishing second-last in 2008 with a 4-18 record, before an 11th-place finish in 2009 and their 2010 wooden spoon.
When asked about a message for the club's fans and members, Shuey added: "We're going through a tough time. Hopefully for their sake, as much as ours, we can turn it around quicker than a lot of people are saying we can.
"It probably hasn't been enjoyable for them turning up to Optus Stadium the last two Friday nights (109-point loss to Richmond and a 63-point defeat to Sydney). They deserve to see better, but we'll get there, hang in there with us."
Shuey was "all-in" for leading the side as skipper amid its transition and backed in Simpson to help it find a way out of the dire situation.
"I've seen him get us out of a few ruts over the years," the 31-year-old midfielder said. "He's been a pretty successful coach in eight or nine years here.
"This is probably the toughest period of his coaching career and probably the toughest period of a lot of our playing careers, but I don't think it means you need to reinvent the wheel.
"We've got to find new ways of doing things but I don't think that always means new personnel. Everyone we've already got on board at the moment we're fully confident in."
The task doesn't get any easier for the Eagles, who face the second-placed Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday night, followed by ladder leader and reigning premier Melbourne at Optus Stadium in round nine.
Shuey was optimistic key defender Tom Barrass (hamstring) would be available along with young ruckman Bailey Williams (hamstring).
The 2018 Norm Smith medalist had no further detail on reports that more players have entered health and safety protocols, with Alex Witherden and Jackson Nelson already ruled out this week.
Simpson hinted on Channel 7 on Monday night that West Coast may need more WAFL top-up players against the Lions having used five against North Melbourne earlier this season.
"They were rippers," Shuey said. "Given the current climate it probably wouldn't feel that out of the ordinary. We'll just see what happens."